This Wicked Orb
Slower than you would expect flames began to fill the room cascading across the floor and up the walls as the force of the blast jettisoned items from its path. Chairs and tables were overturned. Cupboards were thrown open and their contents shattered. The Curtains, or what was left of them, were engulfed in flames and little flaming moth like bits of cloth were blown out of the windows with showers of glass for companions. I’d hate to be miss Collins in the apartment across the alley, she’s always been a nosy old cow and probably deserves a bit of trouble but I hope that for once she’s not at her window looking in on my neighbors.
Enthralled in my conversation with Tess, and my attempts to finally express the things I have been feeling for her since I first set eyes on her, I didn’t register the sound of the blast. It’s a softer sound than should be allowed for the amount of destruction it will cause, barely audible almost like a champagne cork being pulled out of the bottle. I am still trying to find the words to tell Tess how I feel when my door explodes in a burst of splintering wood and plaster. For the first time I thank god for the cheap doors in this place because if this was oak the force of it being blown into my back may have killed me. The impact of the shockwave throws Tess and me to the floor and as I start to feel the flames catch at my back I grab Tess and roll into her apartment.
“SIMON! What happened, what’s going on?” Tess yells over the thunder of the rolling flames that lick at her door.
What does it say about me that I find her incredibly attractive right now; her clothes now rumpled, her hair tussled about and eyes welling with tears as fear and adrenaline get the better of her? I could say that I am surprised it started so soon but someplace inside I must have known because when I walked out that door I had everything I was ever going to need from that place. I didn’t leave a thing I cared about because to be honest the only thing I care about right now is underneath me sobbing.
“I don’t know Tess. I just don’t know but are you o.k?”
Her only response is more tears. Cupping her face with my left hand I smooth back her hair with my right.
“Hey sh sh sh. It’ll be ok I’ve got you, nothings going to happen to you.”
I wipe the tears from her face as I say this and I find her touch all I need to make sure it’s true. I don’t care about this town anymore. For all I care Jake can burn it to the ground and salt the earth so that nothing will ever grow on this godforsaken piece of land again. I used to think this place was something worth fighting for but until this moment, holding this woman in my arms, I couldn’t really recognize how far from what it once was that it had come. I know it’s a dirty and truly damned piece of earth but I know I’m not going to be the one to save it. All I can do now is try to save the people that deserve it and make sure Jake knows exactly who the hell he just fucked with.
“Look Tess get together some clothes and anything else you’ll need. I’m going to take you someplace I know you’ll be safe while I find out what just happened out there.”
She looks me in the eye and for a few seconds the thought of staying here in her arms while the building burns down around us appeals to me. She coughs a bit and shudders off the last of her dwindling tears and nods. I reluctantly let her go and she sets about gather the things she plans to take with her.
“Come to think of it you better take anything you don’t want to leave behind because I don’t know if that fire is going to spread so you shouldn’t hope to come back here again.”
She nods again and I start to think that maybe the shock of it all has gotten to her. I help her fill bags with clothes, pictures, and little things from her family. We take special care taking her shrine down from the wall. With all her things gathered together it takes six bags only one of which is clothes. Six bags that make me feel somehow inadequate, she has six bags worth of things she feels she can’t live without and all I took with me when I left were guns and an old T.V. Guide. Finally packed and ready to go I heap as many bags as I can carry around my arms and shoulders while leaving Tess to hold on to her sanity. I feel like a pack mule but I know it’s for her and that makes the pain burning in my shoulders and back worth it. I test the door for heat, expecting to be burned in the process. Nothing. I ease the door open to find sheets of water pouring down from the ceiling. I can’t believe something actually works in this place. I thought for sure the fire would spread out into the hall and set this place off like a tinderbox. As it is there’s little more then some light singeing on Tess’ door and some burnt carpet. I can still see the smoldering wreckage that my sad little home has become through the smoke and flames that still fill the room. How? How could I have spent the last four years in that room and not feel anything standing here watching it burn? I hear Tess stifle another sob and I snap back to reality. I have something more important to do now than to stand here and ponder the wasted years of my life. I have to get Tess to safety and it looks like my trip down to The Sisters is going to have to wait.